VIZ Media Presents an Exciting Selection of Anime and Publishing Titles for the Holidays

VIZ Media offers fans a diverse collection of titles to add to their wish lists this holiday season. Featured anime titles include Season 2 of the acclaimed Netflix Original Anime Series Castlevania as well as the series finale of Sailor Moon, available for the first time ever on home video in the U.S. Fans can also enjoy a limited edition of Transformers: A Visual HistoryY celebrating the franchise’s 35th anniversary, and a deluxe Dragon Ball art book. Additional offerings come from fan-favorite series including Bleach, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, One Piece, RWBY and much more.

Anime Gift Selections:

CASTLEVANIA SEASON 2
Blu-ray MSRP: $29.98 U.S. / $34.99 CAN
DVD MSRP: $24.98 U.S. / $29.99 CAN

Trevor Belmont, last survivor of his house, is no longer alone, and he and his misfit comrades, Sypha Belnades and Alucard race to find a way to save humanity from extinction at the hands of the grief-maddened Dracula and his sinister vampire war council.

Season 2’s special features include production animatics, storyboards, art gallery and more.

SAILOR MOON SAILOR STARS PART 2
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN
DVD MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN
Available November 12, 2019 (Part 1 Available Now)

Although the popularity of the Idol group Three Lights is off the charts, Usagi hasn’t realized that Seiya, Yaten and Taiki are the Sailor Star Lights. But with the number of Phage growing in the city, the purpose of star seeds is the biggest mystery that needs to be solved. Could the mysterious Chibi-Chibi hold the answer? The tide is turning, but not in Usagi’s favor. Her allies are being overpowered, and altered timelines are confusing the fate she knows to be true: Mamoru is her true love, Neo Crystal Tokyo is her future kingdom and her fellow Guardians will be her eternal protectors…right? The ultimate battle with the chaotic Sailor Galaxia lies ahead, and the fate of all existence lies in the balance.

Special features include cast interviews, trailers, opening & ending songs, and art gallery.

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE Part 1
Blu-ray MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN
DVD MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN

It’s 1999, and Jotaro Kujo has just arrived in the idyllic Japanese town of Morioh—only this time, he’s not hunting DIO and his henchmen. His search for the illegitimate child of Joseph Joestar has brought him face-to-face with Josuke Higashikata, a Stand-wielding, butt-kicking high schooler who happens to be afraid of turtles. But behind Morioh’s tranquil facade is an invisible evil slowly eating away at the peace and well-being of its residents. Bizarre happenings are becoming commonplace, and the Joestar clan must rise to the occasion if they and the town of Morioh are to survive.

MEGALOBOX Limited Edition Blu-ray
MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN

Bored, resigned, and unfulfilled, a young man with neither name nor past survives by fighting in underground matches of a sport called “Megalobox,” a form of boxing that utilizes powered exoskeletons. Calling himself JNK.DOG, he feels trapped in a world of crime, poverty, and ecological collapse. All that changes when he has a chance encounter with Yuri, the reigning king of Megalobox. Now, obsessed with proving himself, JNK.DOG becomes a man driven to do whatever it takes to fight his way to the top of the rankings and take on the champion.

Also available:

BLEACH 1-4 Blu-ray Sets; Set 5 available December 3rd, 2019
MSRP: $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN

BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS 1-3 Blu-ray & DVD Sets
Blu-ray MSRP: $44.98 U.S. / $52.99 CAN · DVD MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN

Deluxe Book Gift Selections:

DRAGON BALL: A VISUAL HISTORY by Akira Toriyama
MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $46.99 CAN
Available November 12, 2019

A comprehensive art book showcasing manga art, additional promotional material, creator commentary and notes/sketches/posters, from throughout the history of the original Dragon Ball series. This hardcover book with dust jacket comes protected in an upscale slipcase.

TRANSFORMERS: A VISUAL HISTORY by Jim Sorenson
Limited Edition MSRP: $99.99 U.S. / $125.00 CAN
Available November 12, 2019

The deluxe limited edition comes packaged in a beautiful collector’s box with an exclusive variant cover design and five gorgeous and frame-ready prints.

One of the world’s most popular franchises, Transformers has been delighting fans since 1984. Now, in this deluxe hardcover celebration, Hasbro reveals behind-the-scenes production sketches, beautifully polished final art, and everything in-between. From the obscure to the iconic, this book features packaging artwork, animation models, video game designs, comic pages, and, for the first time ever, production artwork from all six Paramount live-action films. Lovingly curated by Transformers expert Jim Sorenson, this is the most comprehensive collection of Transformers imagery ever assembled.

THE WORLD OF RWBY by Daniel Wallace
MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $53.99 CAN

The definitive companion to the hit animated series, The World of RWBY is the ultimate celebration of a pop-culture phenomenon. Go behind the scenes with exclusive commentary from Rooster Teeth and explore the show’s creation through in-depth interviews with the writers, animators and voice artists. With comprehensive analysis of key characters and iconic episodes, and showcasing stunning visuals from the series, this is the must-have book for RWBY fans around the world.

Also Available

ONE PIECE COLOR WALK COMPENDIUM: WATER SEVEN TO PARAMOUNT WAR by Eiichiro Oda
MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $53.99 CAN

EVANGELION ILLUSTRATIONS 2007-2017
MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $46.99 CAN

Manga Box Set Gift Selections:

ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM COMPLETE BOX SET by Yusei Matsui
MSRP: $189.99 U.S. / $249.99 CAN
Rated “T+” for Older Teens

The complete bestselling Assassination Classroom series is now available in a boldly designed, value-priced box set. Includes all 21 volumes of this unique tale of a mysterious, smiley-faced, tentacled, superpowered teacher who guides a group of misfit students to find themselves—while doing their best to assassinate him. Action-packed, hilarious, and heartwarming, this title is famous for moving fans to tears through their laughter. Includes an exclusive, full-color, mini “yearbook” filled with images of favorite characters in different art styles and contexts (previously unreleased in the English editions).

DRAGON BALL COMPLETE BOX SET by Akira Toriyama
MSRP: $139.99 U.S. / $179.99 CAN
Rated “T” For Teens

The Dragon Ball Complete Box Set contains all 16 volumes of the original manga that kicked off the global phenomenon. Also includes an exclusive double-sided poster and collector’s booklet featuring fun Dragon Ball trivia and guides as well as an interview with its legendary creator.

DRAGON BALL Z COMPLETE BOX SET by Akira Toriyama
MSRP: $219.99 U.S. / $279.99 CAN
Rated “A” For All Ages

The Dragon Ball Z Complete Box Set contains all 26 volumes of the manga that propelled the global phenomenon that started with Dragon Ball into one of the world’s most recognizable and best-selling manga. Also includes an exclusive double-sided poster and collector’s booklet featuring fun Dragon Ball Z trivia and guides as well as an interview with Akira Toriyama.

VIZ Media Announces Impressive Collection of New Manga, Novels and More for Summer 2020 Release

VIZ Media expands its publishing catalog as it announced a wide range of new acquisitions set for Summer 2020 release during its official panels held this past weekend at New York Comic Con.

New VIZ Signature titles arriving in Summer 2020 include Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition, the definitive release of the classic Rumiko Takahashi series, Naoki Urasawa’s Mujirushi: The Sign of Dreams, and Ping Pong, the tale of two boys’ passion for table tennis from Eisner Award winner Taiyo Matsumoto. The inspiration for the Netflix Original series Kingdom, The Kingdom of the Gods, was also announced.

Shonen Jump titles announced at the Shonen Jump-dedicated panel include Masashi Kishimoto’s latest series Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru; act-age, a gripping tale of an actor surviving her inner demons and Spy X Family, an action-packed comedy about a fake family that includes a spy, an assassin and a telepath. The official manga adaptation of the hit Rooster Teeth series RWBY: The Official Manga also receives a release as well as new novels from bestselling series Bleach, Naruto and One Piece.

On the Shojo Beat side, new titles include Fushigi Yugi: Byakko Senki, the final installment of the popular fantasy series and Not Your Idol, a thriller about a former idol dealing with a psychotic stalker.

Last but not least, the roster of titles includes How Do We Relationship?, a rom-com about two college women in a “fake” relationship, and the massive, full-color guide Monster Hunter: World – Official Complete Works, a must have for fans of the video game franchise.

Summer 2020 New Acquisitions:

ACT-AGE
Story by Tatsuya Matsuki, Art By Shiro Usazaki

Kei Yonagi must delve deep into her psyche to succeed in the cutthroat world of acting, but can she keep her sanity while doing so? Is there a method to Kei Yonagi’s madness when it comes to acting? The young actor has a family of siblings to feed, but she finds herself struggling with her psychological demons when playing a role. Her desperate acting catches the eye of a famous director, Sumiji Kuroyama, who’s looking for raw talent to mold. Can he help Yonagi navigate the cutthroat world of acting without losing her sanity?

BLEACH: CAN’T FEAR YOUR OWN WORLD
By Ryohgo Narita, Original Concept by Tite Kubo

The bestselling paranormal action adventure manga series Bleach continues in novel form as an all-new threat arises. The Quincies’ Thousand Year Blood War is over, but the embers of turmoil still smolder in the Soul Society. Tokinada Tsunayashiro, elevated to head of his clan after a slew of assassinations take out every other claimant to the title, has a grand plan to create a new Soul King. His dark ambitions soon sow the seeds of a new total war across the realms, but all is not lost. There is one unlikely Soul Reaper who holds the key to defusing the conflict—Shuhei Hisagi, Assistant Captain of the Ninth Company and reporter for the Seireitei Bulletin.

FUSHIGI YUGI: BYAKKO SENKI
By Yuu Watase

The final Fushigi Yugi story in the Universe of the Four Gods begins. The year is 1923. Suzuno Osugi’s father Takao warns her to stay away from The Universe of the Four Gods, telling her it’s a book that only men can touch. Takao worked with late Einosuke Okuda, who translated its text. He knows that in order to enact its story, the book needs one last heroine: the priestess of Byakko.

HOW DO WE RELATIONSHIP?
By Tamifull

A romance of convenience between two college women soon becomes the real thing. Shy Miwa has always dreamed of finding love, but living in small-town Japan made finding the right match difficult—especially since she likes girls. Even going away to college didn’t seem to increase her romantic odds until one day her outgoing classmate Saeko suggests they might as well start dating each other since it’s not like either of them have other options. At first it seems like things won’t work out as their personalities clash and misunderstandings abound. But when their casual friendship starts to become something more Miwa begins to wonder—can a pragmatic proposal lead to true love?

MAISON IKKOKU COLLECTOR’S EDITION
By Rumiko Takahashi

Acclaimed author Rumiko Takahashi’s classic romantic comedy about finding a path in life. Yusaku Godai didn’t get accepted into college on the first try, so he’s studying to retake the entrance exams. But living in a dilapidated building full of eccentric and noisy tenants is making it hard for him to achieve his goals. Now that a beautiful woman has moved in to become the new resident manager, Godai is driven to distraction.

MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD – OFFICIAL COMPLETE WORKS
Dive into this monstrously massive guide and explore all of the hunting fields, monsters, weaponry and lore that turned Capcom’s beloved Monster Hunter franchise into a global hit. Monster Hunter: World is one of the biggest games to hit shelves in years, and an epic game deserves an epic book. This 560-page tome features all of the lore, myths and monster designs that made Monster Hunter: World such a hit. Get all of the details on the ecosystems of the hunting grounds, find out just what makes a Rathalos such a ferocious predator and explore the New World.

MUJIRUSHI: THE SIGN OF DREAMS
By Naoki Urasawa

From award-winning author Naoki Urasawa comes a tale of crushing debt, a broken marriage, and the painting that can fix it all—if Kasumi and her dad can manage to steal it. Kamoda will do anything to earn a quick buck, even if it means skipping out on his taxes to take his wife on a luxury cruise. But when a random tax audit bankrupts his family, Kamoda soon discovers his wife has taken that cruise after all—only without Kamoda or their daughter Kasumi. Desperate to provide, Kamoda invests in a scheme to mass-produce masks of controversial American presidential candidate Beverly Duncan. But a lackluster election kills their sales potential, burying Kamoda under a mountain of masks and debt. On the verge of despair, Kamoda discovers a sign that leads him to the Director, an art fanatic who vows he can make all of Kamoda and Kasumi’s dreams come true.

NARUTO: NARUTO’S STORY – FAMILY DAY
By Mirei Miyamoto, Original Concept By Masashi Kishimoto

The ninja adventures continue in these stories featuring the characters of Naruto and Boruto. In this first of three new stand-alone tales set in the Boruto timeline, the village of Konohagakure has established a new holiday, Family Day. In an attempt to celebrate, Naruto and his daughter Himawari race around looking for a must-have item that just keeps eluding them. Hinata wants to make the day memorable for her father Hiashi, her younger sister Hanabi and her son Boruto. Even Sasuke makes time to do something special with his daughter Sarada and his wife Sakura. When all is said and done, will the new holiday be considered a success?

NOT YOUR IDOL
By Aoi Makino

A psychological suspense series about a girl who has given up her life as an idol after being assaulted by a fan. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama, a former idol in the group Pure Club, shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school she keeps to herself, but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.

ONE PIECE: ACE’S STORY
By Sho Hinata, Original Concept by Eiichiro Oda

Get the backstory on Luffy’s brother Ace in this first of two prose stories that continue the high seas adventure One Piece. This volume contains the origin story of Luffy’s adopted brother Ace, and tells of his thrilling quest for the legendary One Piece treasure.

PING PONG
By Taiyo Matsumoto

Ace high school table tennis players push their passion to the limit in this story of self-discovery, told by Eisner Award winner Taiyo Matsumoto and later adapted to anime by Masaaki Yuasa. Makoto “Smile” Tsukimoto doesn’t smile even though he’s got a natural talent for playing ping pong. As one of the best players in school, all hopes are on him to win the regional high school tournament, but winning is not what Smile really wants to do. Will the fierce competition to be number one bring out his best or drive him away from the game? Ping Pong is Taiyo Matsumoto’s masterwork reflection on friendship and self-discovery, presented here in two volumes, featuring color art, the bonus story Tamura and an afterward by the original Japanese series editor.

RWBY: THE OFFICIAL MANGA
By Bunta Kinami, Based on the Rooster Teeth Series Created By Monty Oum

Experience the Beacon Academy arc of the international smash hit animated series RWBY in a whole new way—manga. In the world of Remnant, monsters known as Grimm wreak havoc. They’re kept in check by Huntsmen and Huntresses, highly-skilled warriors experienced in monster extermination who utilize special abilities in battle. Ruby is a ferociously talented young girl who comes to Beacon Academy to hone her skills and serve as a Huntress herself. Alongside her sister Yang Xiao Long, rival Weiss Schnee and newfound friend Blake Belladonna, Ruby leads Team RWBY, the coolest new group at Beacon.

SAMURAI 8: THE TALE OF HACHIMARU
Story by Masashi Kishimoto, Art by Akira Okubo

A futuristic tale of samurai adventure from the creator of Naruto. Becoming a samurai seems like an impossible dream for Hachimaru, a boy who can’t even survive without the help of his father. But when a samurai cat appears before him, his whole life changes. A legendary manga creator and a rising star come together to bring you this science fiction samurai epic.

SPY X FAMILY
By Tatsuya Endo

An action-packed comedy about a fake family that includes a spy, an assassin and a telepath. Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head.

THE KINGDOM OF THE GODS
Story By In-Wan Youn, Art By Kyung-Il Yang, Original Concept by Eun-hee Kim

Discover the comic that inspired the Netflix Original zombie series Kingdom Years of war and famine and have plunged Joseon into chaos. Young Prince Yi Moon, after losing all his bodyguards to an assassination attempt, has no choice but to turn to the mountain bandit Jae-ha for help. But as the unlikely pair race to find safety in a world gone mad, it becomes horrifyingly clear that humans aren’t the only thing they must fear. In a bonus story, a secluded island becomes a private battlefield as the notorious Japanese criminal Juu and the infamous Korean felon Han face off against each other. But they aren’t the only ones on the island…

VIZ Media Announces Forthcoming Print Releases

VIZ Media announced during its Shonen Jump panel at New York Comic Con that it will release Ryohgo Narita’s Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World novel in July 2020, Mirei Miyamoto’s Naruto: Naruto’s Story – Family Day novel in June 2020, and Shō Hinata’s One Piece: Ace’s Story novel in May 2020.

The company also announced that it will begin releasing the act-age and RWBY The Official Manga in July 2020, Spy x Family manga in print in June 2020, and the Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru manga in March 2020.

Source: ANN

List: My Favorite Anime Redheads

This time, my list will be focusing on my five favorite red-haired anime characters. Like usual, instead of being a Top 5 list, I am sharing my choices in alphabetical order by first name.

Asuka Langley Soryu

She’s one of the leading ladies of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and she has a strong personality. When she’s first introduced, she’s a little annoying. But as she starts having to work with Shinji (especially the training for the two of them to be able to work together in sync), the audience starts seeing that there’s more to this character. When her backstory is revealed, it’s heartbreaking, and it makes the viewer more understanding of why Asuka acts the way she does.

Mikoto Mikoshiba

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun boasts quite a cast of characters, and Mikoshiba stands out among the crowd. Not only does he have his bright red hair, but his personality is also over the top and hilarious. He acts like he’s so confident when it comes to girls, but when they pay attention to him, he’s completely shy. All the time he’s spent playing dating sims hasn’t helped him at all in the real world. But he’s helpful to Nozaki in the creation of his manga, especially since, unbeknownst to Mikoshiba, he is the inspiration for the heroin of Nozaki’s story.

Renji Abarai

Renji is one of the Soul Reapers from Soul Society, and he’s a loyal friend to Rukia. When we first meet him, he comes across as a tough guy who wouldn’t want to be regarded as an ally with Ichigo and his friends. But after Rukia is saved from Soul Society, the audience starts seeing that Renji has a softer side to him. Unfortunately, as the anime continued and became riddled with more and more “filler” stories and episodes, he started coming across as more of a comic relief character. But in the episodes that come from the original manga source material, the audience sees that Renji has an awesome Bankai and that he’s a respectable fighter in his own right.

Shirayuki

Shirayuki is an herbalist in a small medieval village. In the world that this story is set, having red hair is a very unusual thing. Prince Raj decides he wants her as his concubine because of her hair, but Shirayuki is rightfully offended by this. She runs away into a bordering kingdom, where she becomes friends with Zen, a prince in the kingdom. What I love about Shirayuki’s character is that she’s sweet, helpful, beautiful, and has agency. She isn’t going to be the damsel in distress who always needs to be saved. While she may not always be able to take care of herself, she’s not constantly relying on others to take care of her.

Shoukichi Naruko

Naruko may be the loud-mouthed member of Sohoku High School’s bicycle racing club, but he’s a very funny and amusing character. The interactions between him and Imaizumi are always fun to watch because of how much they try to compete against each other. And the interactions between Naruko and Tadokoro are also enjoyable. But Naruko also has a serious side to him, which he’s most likely to show to Sakamichi. As Yowamushi Pedal has progressed, we start seeing some evolution of Naruko’s character, but he still retains the amusing charm that he was introduced with.

VIZ Media Makes Top Shonen Jump Manga Chapters Available for Free and Simultaneous With Japanese Debut

VIZ Media proudly announces a major new development for the company’s flagship imprint, SHONEN JUMP, and the world’s most popular digital manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump.

Beginning December 17, 2018, the current Weekly Shonen Jump magazine lineup of 13 series will be available to readers for free, including Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, My Hero Academia, One Piece, and more. Additional series join the simultaneous lineup, including Jujutsu Kaisen, Act-Age, Haikyu!!, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Combined with the current lineup, there will be a total of 25 free series, with all-new chapters published in English simultaneously with Japan. Fans can dive into the three latest chapters for hit series such as Dragon Ball Super, The Promised Neverland, Dr. Stone and more, with new series coming soon. For the upcoming simultaneous chapter release schedule, please visit https://viz.com/shonen-jump-chapter-schedule.

As a part of this evolution, Weekly Shonen Jump published its final digital magazine issue on December 10, 2018 and launched the SHONEN JUMP digital vault membership on December 17, 2018. This new SHONEN JUMP membership ($1.99 per month) grants readers seamless access to a substantial and continually updated digital vault that currently features more than 10,000 manga chapters from nearly 100 series – almost every ongoing and completed series SHONEN JUMP has published in English.

“We are extremely excited and proud to announce this bold evolution for SHONEN JUMP,” says Hisashi Sasaki, Global Vice President, SHONEN JUMP. “Fans want to catch their favorite stories the same day they debut in Japan for free, and accessing back chapters of popular SHONEN JUMP series has been one of the most requested features from our online readers. Our new model will make SHONEN JUMP the premiere showcase for manga content.”

Current Weekly Shonen Jump subscribers have been converted to the new membership and can now catch up with the latest series at any point, revisit classic favorites like Naruto, Bleach, Death Note and Nisekoi, as well as explore additional new titles that will be added on a regular basis.

A 7-day free trial membership is currently available at viz.com/sj-offer.

Fans can access the free digital chapters and unlock the SHONEN JUMP digital vault at shonenjump.com or with the SHONEN JUMP app for iPhone, iPad and Android-based devices. Current app users should download the latest version of the SJ app.

For more information on Shonen Jump, please visit viz.com/company-faq#sj.

Anime Spotlight: Bleach (Updated)

The Bleach anime is based on a manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. The anime was produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe. The series aired on Japanese television from October 5, 2004-March 27, 2012, for a total of 366 episodes. There are also four anime films that are part of the franchise. VIZ Media holds the North American rights for Bleach.

The protagonist of Bleach is a 15-year-old high school student named Ichigo Kurosaki, and he can see ghosts. After witnessing a girl attacking a strange creature in the middle of his
neighborhood, the girl visits him one night in his bedroom. She says she is a Soul Reaper and she is surprised that Ichigo can see her. At first, Ichigo doesn’t believe her, but his mind is changed when another strange creature, which he learns is called a “hollow,” attacks his house and terrorizes his sisters.

The Soul Reaper is severely wounded when she tries to protect Ichigo. When things look bleak, she introduces herself as Rukia Kuchiki, and she says she will transfer some of her powers to him so Ichigo can protect his sisters. However, in the process of the power transfer, he unintentionally absorbs most of Rukia’s powers. With his new power, Ichigo defeats the hollow.

The next day, Rukia suddenly appears in Ichigo’s classroom as a transfer student. She has transferred herself into an artificial human body, which she must stay in until she can recover her abilities. Without her powers, she is stranded in the human world. Ichigo must now take over Rukia’s job as a Soul Reaper, and it’s up to him to battle hollows and guide lost souls to Soul Society, which is what we would think of as “Heaven.”

In Bleach, all the characters are “souls”; living human beings have souls contained within their bodies. Spirits have a form that is composed of particles and spiritual energy that is
called ectoplasm. The ectoplasm can mimic human anatomy, but it ages more slowly. For the spirits, there is no distinction between spirit and body.

Most humans cannot see or sense the spirits; however, spirits can inhabit artificial human bodies that can be seen by humans. One in 50,000 humans is a medium with some degree of awareness of nearby spirits. But of those, only about a third of them can see the spirits clearly. And only the strongest of the mediums can speak with or touch the spirits.

There are benign spirits, called pluses in the Japanese version or wholes in the English version. This is a spirit of someone who has died, and they have a chain (called the Chain of Fate) protruding from their chest. The chain binds the spirit to a location, object or person they felt close to in life. The spirit can move around freely if the chain is broken, but this also causes the chain to erode. Most of these spirits are sent to Soul Society by the Soul Reapers before the corrosion becomes significant. If not, then a hole will form in the chest of the spirit where the chain had been anchored.

The Soul Reapers are souls with inner spiritual power and are recruited from the ranks and nobility of Soul Society. They use supernatural swords that manifest their owners’ powers to perform soul burials on the pluses/wholes. They are also charged with
eliminating hollows, which are evil spirits that feed on the souls of the living and the dead. The Hollows reside in an area called Hueco Mundo.

Soul Reapers also have access to artificial souls, which are in pill form and mass-produced by the Soul Reapers. The artificial souls are used to force Soul Reapers out of their artificial human bodies, and they can also be used to evict pluses/wholes that refuse to leave their bodies after death.

But Ichigo is not alone in dealing with spirits. His friend Chad discovers he has an ability that strengthens and armors his right arm, which allows him to fight hollows. Ichigo’s classmate Orihime develops a spiritual awareness and gains an ability to warp reality
through rejecting past phenomena. His rival, Uryu Ishida, is a Quincy (a hollow-hunting archer), ends up becoming a reluctant ally.

There are also many other interesting characters, especially the other Soul Reapers that the audience meets in Soul Society. There’s so many of them, though, that it would take way too much space to talk about each one and their abilities. But a Soul Reaper named Aizen ends up becoming one of the main antagonists of the series.

Bleach starts out as a very interesting anime with fantastic storytelling, and it’s a series that is populated by a lot of compelling characters. There were occasional “filler” episodes in the first three seasons, and most of them were somewhat enjoyable. But around the fourth season, there was the filler story arc about the Bount, and most of this arc was enjoyable. However, the end of the Bount arc was a little disappointing, because the
ending was ultimately anticlimactic.

Unfortunately, as time went on, Bleach started getting bogged down with more filler episodes, with some of these filler stories lasting for a year’s worth of episodes. Not only that, but the tone of the filler episodes started becoming more and more comedic and lighthearted in nature, which is in direct contrast to the darker tone that the canon storylines have. Also, at least one filler story was dropped in right in the middle of a major canon battle, with narration at the beginning of the first filler episode that Ichigo and the others got away. But once the filler ended and the series returned to a canon storyline, there was a recap of what led up to the canon battle, and then the battle continued.

Later in the series, the anime would stretch out the canon material by re-showing at least part of a battle from the previous episode. At its worst, the first half of an episode
would just re-show a battle from the previous episode, and the battle wouldn’t start progressing until the second half.

The Bleach anime does have a timeskip that seems to be required in shonen stories, but unfortunately, the series was cancelled before too much progression could be made in the post-timeskip storyline. But considering how much the series had gone downhill prior to the cancellation, it’s not surprising that audience numbers dropped off enough for the decision to be made to discontinue the series.

In the end, I really enjoy the early episodes of Bleach, and wish that the series could have continued to be that strong in both its tone and storytelling. Now that Tite Kubo has ended the manga, I’m hoping that maybe at some point, a reboot of the Bleach anime could be produced that would focus specifically on the canon material from the manga. While it’s not likely this could happen, it’s not entirely impossible, either. Fullmetal Alchemist got a manga faithful reboot, and Fruits Basket will be getting the same treatment in 2019. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that perhaps Bleach could also be among the lucky anime to get a manga faithful reboot.

List: My Favorite Bleach Characters

This list of favorite characters from Bleach is based off of the anime and not on the manga. At the time I’m writing this list, I have seen all of the anime but have not read all of the manga.

But, as usual, this list is not a Top 5 list. Instead, my choices are being presented in alphabetical order by first name.

Ichigo Kurosaki

Not surprisingly, protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki makes it onto the list. He’s established as an interesting character from the get-go, when its shown that he can see spirits. He starts out as a bit of a punk, yet he still has a caring heart. His life changes when he encounters Rukia, and he unintentionally absorbs most of her Soul Reaper powers when he saves his family from a Hollow. It’s just amazing to see how Ichigo goes from being a cynical guy who really doesn’t want to be a Soul Reaper to a character that accepts and welcomes the strength that the Soul Reaper powers give him.

As he develops a circle of friends, both human and Soul Reapers, around him, he becomes even more considerate and thoughtful of others. One of the biggest things in his character development, though, is avenging his mother’s death when he faces the Hollow that killed her. I honestly think this was the moment in the series when Ichigo really started to evolve as a character.

Orihime Inoue

Orihime starts out as the sweet, yet sometimes naïve, classmate of Ichigo Kurosaki, who has a crush on him. She lived with her older brother until he died in an accident when she was in middle school. When her late brother turns into a Hollow, Ichigo is able to save her with his Soul Reaper powers.

When the series starts, Orihime doesn’t have spiritual powers. However, she develops spiritual awareness early on, and later obtains an ability to warp reality by rejecting past phenomena. As a character, Orihime continues to be sweet and kind, but she slowly starts becoming less naïve. She ultimately becomes a driving force, not only for Ichigo’s character development, but also for the story itself.

Rukia Kuchiki

Rukia is a Soul Reaper who introduced early on in the series, when she breaks into his house. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize that Ichigo can see her. She ultimately sets the story in motion when she transfers some of her Soul Reaper power to Ichigo, but he accidentally absorbs all of it.  She takes on a temporary life of a regular human, living in Ichigo’s closet, and going to school with him. She spends her time teaching Ichigo how to be a Soul Reaper. One of my favorite scenes from early on in the series is seeing Rukia attempt to draw, but she lacks any real artistic ability. Her drawings are actually quite amusing.

But when Rukia is taken to Soul Society to be punished for giving her Soul Reaper powers to a human, Ichigo and his friends go to Soul Society to save her. By the end of that arc, Rukia becomes an important friend and ally to Ichigo. While her purpose for her to be around Ichigo changes over the course of the series, she continues to be a character that the audience cares about.

Yasutora Sado (aka Chad)

Chad is of mixed Japanese and Mexican heritage, and is also incredibly tall in comparison to his classmates. Even though he has an imposing appearance, he’s actually meek and he refuses to fight unless it’s for the sake of another. He also shows little emotion, except when someone or something he cares about is in danger. This dichotomy is one of the first things that grabbed my attention when it came to Chad.

While trying to protect Ichigo’s sister Karin from a Hollow, Chad discovers that he has an ability that allows him to strengthen and armor his right arm. This power makes sense for Chad, even though he’s not much into fighting. This at least gives him a way to protect those he cares about and is loyal to.

When it comes to Chad, my favorite storyline that he features in is the one where he accepts a cursed cockatiel. Seeing this imposing guy taking care of a cute little bird was amusing, but what happens by the end of this particular story is actually rather sad. Chad definitely got his best stories early on in the series. I still liked him a lot later on, but he just never quite got as good of stories as he did in the early episodes.

Yoruichi Shihoin

Yoruichi’s cat form actually made an appearance on an earlier list I wrote about my favorite anime cats. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that she would make it onto this list as well.

I really like Yoruichi’s personality. She’s intelligent and witty, but she can also kick some serious ass when she’s fighting. In addition to her personality, I admire her for how much of a loyal ally she is to Ichigo and his friends. The ability to transform into a cat also adds to her awesomeness. She’s a great character all around, and it’s a shame that she wasn’t necessarily utilized as well as she could have been in the anime.